…a happy day…we took the dinghy out for a trial run. Dinghy’s are necessary for sailors. They get you to shore when the coastline is too rough to get close, and they apparently can save your life when the boat crashes on a reef, capsizes, or springs a leak in a gale. (sailing is an expensive way to try to commit suicide- this is what I gather from some of the sailing magazines Dennis has passed my way, in hopes that I would be less pessimistic. I personally call them the magazines of death…)
moi, pessimistic? When my only wonderful sailing experience has been two capsizings during our previous sailing days in Saskatchewan, both of which almost drowned me- Dennis clutching my wrist and dragging me along in the wake of the boat with my poodle Magic clawing at my face and my kids watching aghast from the shore??? (I still have nightmares…”I’m going to drown, and all my kids are watching!!!!!!!”)
Anyway…I only had one accident as we tried out the dinghy. Dennis rip-started the motor and clocked me full on in the back with his elbow. Took my breath away, I tell ya! Fortunately I was wearing a lifejacket which absorbed some of the impact. I only whined about that for an hour.
We left the next morning at 4 am to come back to the city. As I mentioned, it’s a 3 hour drive. It had been monsoon raining all night, which was lovely for sleeping, but not so nice to go out in. Pitch dark. Cold. (for the tropics…about 70*) Dennis had already made the first trip laden with all the cushions to take home and have them washed…I had an adventure as I tried to get off the boat. Picture it. I’m laden with his briefcase (15 kilos) and my purse (5 kilos, no seriously, it’s only 5) in either hand, plus a couple of other bags. No umbrella and it’s pouring rain so I poked holes in a garbage bag and put it over my head and arms. Staggering in my wet sandals cuz I had left them outside the hatch, I stumbled to the edge of the boat and attempted to step off onto the pier.(note to self: never wear sandals on a boat- should be full shoes, laced up tight) Felt a sliding and a catching…the briefcase caught on a stanchion (the post thing that holds the fence-wire that goes all around the boat, I’ve forgotten the name- oh yes, the dodgers) and down I went in the rain in my garbage bag at 4 am. Resigning myself to falling into the ocean, I desperately held on to the briefcase, knowing that if I dropped it my dear sweet husband would not be a happy camper…er…sailor.
Snag….the little floater thingies that attach to the side of the boat to keep it from bashing against the dock caught me just above the water line in the dark in my garbage bag at 4 am. Saved! But stuck! Can’t move! Bags too heavy! Rain too intense! Slowly sling the left-hand bags over on to the pier, oh thank you Jesus they made it. Reach left hand over to grab briefcase and other bag, sling them on to the pier. Hallelujah, didn’t drop the briefcase. I can’t believe I’m still alive and not in the ocean! In the dark in my garbage bag at 4 am!!!!!!!! Slowly claw my way up holding the cables…expecting every minute to lose my grip and topple into the space between the boat and the pier…but the mercy of God was with me and I fell forward onto solid concrete.
Oh my stars. Bruised and blinded, I staggered up to the truck with my two armfuls of luggage, only to be met by a guard who had the gall to ask me, “Is this your truck? Are you a member here?” to which I not very sweetly replied “Yes and yes” and climbed wearily into the truck (sailors have to have trucks, not unlike farmers in Saskatchewan) and wrapped the sopping pillows around myself as protection against the airconditioning which one must have on to keep the windows from fogging up. Dennis finally appeared (he had gone back for the final load and to lock up Serendipity) and we began the long drive home. Made it safely. Rain stopped on the east side of the mountains. Manila was dry and hot.
Next Monday we are going to take Serendipity out for a spin and unfurl her sails. Why are we doing this, you ask??? Well, at mid-fifties, you begin to realize that if you don’t live your dream now, you never will. To see my husband’s face as he unfurls the mainsail and hoists the spinnaker (oh how he loves that spinnaker…it is spread all over our living room even as I write, drying out) makes it all worth while. Evan will come with us- he’s going off the deep end I’m afraid…talking about mounting automatic machine-guns on the port and starboard bow as protection against pirates. Having read about the murder of a round-the-world sailor somewhere in the islands of the South Pacific or something….
A Fresh Wind Blowing
One day I’ll go out with a fresh wind blowing,
(And no one will know that I am going!)
And all the dreams that didn’t come true,
I’ll leave to another captain and crew.
My craft will be sturdy- my sails new and bright-
I’m downwind and tacking- almost out of sight!
I’ll dump all the cargo I have in the hold,
Treading deep water- carefree and bold!
When I sail out with a fresh wind blowing-
May God take note that I am going…
And hold the compass and charter the sea,
While I sail for the harbor intended for me!
-Vivian Page Wheeler